Gear Ratios

For discussions about bikes and equipment.
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Colin63
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Gear Ratios

Postby Colin63 » 25 Jan 2010, 6:28pm

I was browsing through an old training diary tonight and found a chart on which I'd highlighted the gear ratios of my old Mercian 10 speed bike from the early eighties. I haven't even thought of calculating the ratios on my current bike until I saw this. It makes for an interesting comparison when thinking about the type of options we have available nowadays.

I had a 53/39 Stronglight chainring and a 13 to 23 range on the five rear sprockets which gave me a range of 110.0in to 45.8in gearing. The bike was used for touring and commuting.

My current bike which is essentially the same type of bike used for the same purpose has 44/32/22 at the front and 11 to 32 at the back giving me a massive range of 108.0in to 18.6in.

I was nearly 30 years younger and commuting 25 miles everyday through London so I was undoubtedly very fit, but I can't imagine being restricted to such high gearing now. I love my tiny front ring and the ability it gives me to dawdle (almost) effortlessly up long steep hills. Essentially my bike is kitted out with Shimano XT mountain bike gearing. I wonder if we'd all still be using bigger gears if the MTB revolution hadn't happened. I use quite a lot of that range when I'm out and about, with only the extremes being rarely used.

I'm curious, now that I have numbers, about what gearing other riders are using on touring/audax/road bikes just to see whether or not I'm typical or getting long in the tooth and slowing down.

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hubgearfreak
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Re: Gear Ratios

Postby hubgearfreak » 25 Jan 2010, 6:34pm

Colin63 wrote:I love my tiny front ring


does anyone else? :|

PW
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Re: Gear Ratios

Postby PW » 25 Jan 2010, 7:00pm

I started off on 52/42 X 14-24, initially 5 speed then 6. Then with the learning curve I moved to 52/40/30 X 13-32 six speed which was my standard set up until six speed became too much bother chasing replacement parts. Around 2003 I rebuilt the family fleet on 9 speed, mainly 48/38/26 on 11-32. My touring bike was altered before the ride home from Jo'G to 48/38/24 X 11-34, I think that'll be normal from now on.
The fun bike is a lot lighter and faster handling, weighs nowt and doesn't need the super low granny gears, so that's currently 48/38/26 X 11-26 ten speed.
If at first you don't succeed - cheat!!

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531colin
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Re: Gear Ratios

Postby 531colin » 25 Jan 2010, 7:23pm

I love his tiny front ring too - that was what you were asking?

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cycleruk
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Re: Gear Ratios

Postby cycleruk » 25 Jan 2010, 7:33pm

I would assume commuting through London would be fairly flat so a 53/39 would still be usable but maybe with a 13/26 at the back. (which is what I have on my Vitus).
My other bikes have various gear ranges depending on their usage.
MTB 42/32.22 - 11/28. Tourer 46/36/24 - 12/28. Audax 50/40/30 - 13/28. Sport 50/34 - 12/25 (or 12/27).
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keyboardmonkey
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Re: Gear Ratios

Postby keyboardmonkey » 25 Jan 2010, 8:23pm

Raleigh Road Ace 52/42 13-24 (orig. 21) 6sp; Audax 50/39/30 11-25 9sp; Tourer 48/38/28 13-32 7sp; MTB 42/34/24 11-30 8sp

I have a Deore rear derailleur that I'm going to put on the Audax with an 11-32 cassette. Unless, that is, I can source a cassette with the smallest rear sprocket of about 13 or 14 - I can't push a gear much above 100".

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hubgearfreak
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Re: Gear Ratios

Postby hubgearfreak » 25 Jan 2010, 8:25pm

i can't really join in this debate, other than to say that somwhere around 50-65" is ideal for direct drive 8)

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Tigerbiten
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Re: Gear Ratios

Postby Tigerbiten » 25 Jan 2010, 8:35pm

I go 48-36-22 in front and 9-34 at the back.
That gives me a top of 98" and a bottom of 12", 20" (18.5") wheels all round.

Luck ............. :D

reohn2
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Re: Gear Ratios

Postby reohn2 » 25 Jan 2010, 8:48pm

hubgearfreak wrote:
Colin63 wrote:I love my tiny front ring


does anyone else? :|


Hmm, worrying :| .................
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reohn2
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Re: Gear Ratios

Postby reohn2 » 25 Jan 2010, 8:49pm

531colin wrote:I love his tiny front ring too - that was what you were asking?


Even more worrying :| ...................
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meic
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Re: Gear Ratios

Postby meic » 25 Jan 2010, 9:03pm

I have been down to 17".

24 front 34 rear and 28mm tyres on 26" wheels.

but that was too low!

Now I am happy with 18.5" but I do pull a baby trailer.

I have had to get off and have a friend pull me up a slope once. It wasnt for lack of power it was that the bike had ceased being handleable with the slope, gear and gravel.
With gears that low if you have to stop you can not get started again.

Unless you have 5 wheels instead of my 4. :lol:
Yma o Hyd

reohn2
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Re: Gear Ratios

Postby reohn2 » 25 Jan 2010, 10:44pm

After my initial worries :shock: I can confide that the tandems are 24/38/48 with an 11-34(9sp) cassette,on one and 24/38/48 with 11-32(9sp) on the other equating to almost the same bottom gear,we used to use a 13-28 with the same c/rings upfront and climb anything,but these days the lower ratios are welcome.Its the high gears we find useless these days, so next time I change the cassette I'll be buying two cassettes 14-25(Tiagra) and an 11-34(Deore), spliting them to make a 14,15,17,19,21,23,26,30,34 cassette out of the two,which should provide a very usable range for a reletively low extra outlay of £16 rather than having two sprockets(11t and 12t) redundant.
Solo tourer/winter bike,26/36/46, 13-26 cass(7sp),light tourer/audax 26/38/48,14-25cass(9sp),I don't tour solo much these days so find I can get up pretty much anything with these gears.
There was a time when I rode 42/52,14-24(6sp) how I did it is a mystery :? younger,stronger,dafter?
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Michael R
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Re: Gear Ratios

Postby Michael R » 26 Jan 2010, 11:00am

In 1962 I set up my bike with a 36/49 front and 13-28 (six speed) on back giving 35- 100 which I thought was a good range and got me up most things in Wales.

A few years on I now have 44/32/22 x 11-32 . Despite being a few months older I still peddle up all hills within 50 miles of Lancaster though I have Hardknott and the Struggle to tackle

AndyB
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Location: Lancashire

Re: Gear Ratios

Postby AndyB » 26 Jan 2010, 11:26am

Mine are (in inches):

Tourer: 21.5 - 91.1 (although this is currently running 24-99)
Light bike: 26.4 - 101.5 (sometimes 32-110)
Fixed: 63.5
Tandem: 18.8 - 128.2 :shock: (I think I'll do like reohn2 and make up a 14-34 for this instead of the 11-34, to make a more useful 19-101 inches)

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Mick F
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Re: Gear Ratios

Postby Mick F » 26 Jan 2010, 11:41am

I'm 30/42/53 on the front with 13-29 at the back.
27.4" to 108"

20 odd years ago, the widest I had was 36/52 and 13-28.
34" to 106"

Actually, not much different.
I was commuting then, and lived at the TOP of Gunnislake Hill! If we still lived there, I may not have the ratios I have now, because these days, we live at the BOTTOM of the hill!
Mick F. Cornwall